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Jack Ross pinpoints one key area for Dundee United improvement as new Tannadice boss acknowledges ‘playing catch-up’

New man at the helm: Ross
New man at the helm: Ross

Jack Ross is determined to ensure Dundee United hit the goal trail following his appointment as Tangerines head coach.

The Terrors rippled the net just 37 times in the Premiership last term despite securing fourth spot and a return to European competition for the first time in a decade.

However, Ross insists that return – which was bettered by eight other clubs – would ordinarily see United fall short of their targets.

And creating a more swashbuckling side is one of his top priorities after succeeding Tam Courts this week. 

He told DUTV: “In terms of the amount of goals scored last season, it’s not often that you would score that number of goals and finish in that position in the league.

Courts, pictured, led United to fourth place with a modest goal tally

“That’s testament to the resilience and defensive record.

“But, to ensure you do that consistently, you need to probably create more opportunities in the final third and be more clinical.

“You want to score more often to ensure you give yourself a better chance of winning games.

“That, looking at the make-up of the squad, is not a slight on the players who are here. It’s just about giving us greater options, flexibility and threat.”

Playing catch-up

While United do not report for pre-season training until Thursday morning, Ross has acknowledged that time is of the essence as he embarks upon his duties.

That is particularly relevant in the transfer market, where the Tangerines require a couple of new goalkeepers and reinforcements in wide areas, central midfield and at centre-forward. 

Jamie McGrath.
Courier Sport revealed that Jamie McGrath is a target for Ross

He continued: “There’s a lot of work to undertake in a short period of time.

“We are playing catch-up a little bit in terms of putting the squad together. But that work is under way.

“That’s exciting and gives that opportunity to put your own stamp on things.”

Bruised and battered

Ross, meanwhile, insists he is again ready for the rough-and-tumble of management at a club with lofty expectations. 

He was sacked by Hibs just 10 days before their Premier Sports Cup final against Celtic last December, and a matter of months after finishing third in the league – albeit they had endured a poor start to the 2021/22 campaign.

Ross added: “When you are in management, you get bruised, battered and kicked around a little bit. That’s just what happens – and on a pretty regular basis!

“You do become thick skinned. You need to.”

How does Jack Ross’ Hibs reign compare to Dundee United under Micky Mellon and Tam Courts?

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